EDINBURG — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Edinburg CISD broke ground Tuesday morning on the land that will house a new collegiate high school.
The school, which is a 50/50 partnership between the university and the school district, will be located at 1407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Drive, just off of Expressway 281.
Dozens of students who are already enrolled in the new school were in attendance at Wednesday’s ceremony.
“This is a joint effort in every way,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey said during the ceremony.
“Think about this, Edinburg Independent School District right there; UTRGV right over here; UTRGV and Edinburg Independent School District together right here,” Bailey said, motioning the close proximity of the two entities to the new collegiate high school. “Think about that, in the best location in the Valley. It is a remarkable partnership. It is a true partnership in every way.”
The school will be the fifth high school for the Edinburg school district. It will feature high school level teachers, as well as instructors from UTRGV. Students enrolled in the school will be taking the same college courses as those provided at UTRGV, just minutes from the new school’s location.
“The school is located in a prime location,” Superintendent Mario Salinas previously said. “We think we have the most ideal location for that facility, right on the corner of Freddy Gonzalez and Highway 281. We’ve got 10 acres in that corner lot. It’s about a mile due west from H-E-B Park.”
“We think we really got lucky getting that location because it’s going to have high visibility with thousands of cars driving back and forth,” the superintendent continued. “We’re going to put out a state of the art facility — a two-story facility right next to the highway.”
The 75,000-square-foot facility will serve an estimated 800 to 1,000 students. D. Wilson Construction of McAllen was awarded the bid to construct the new collegiate school.
“They were the low bid, and that’s why we went with them,” Salinas said. “Our building is very similar to the one they constructed in Harlingen. We think that will save in cost, and it will speed up the construction phase.”
According to Salinas, the project will cost $26 million, which will be evenly distributed between Edinburg CISD and UTRGV. Construction on the school is estimated to be completed in March 2024.
The collegiate high school was announced on March 23. School leaders hope that the new school will help students pursue careers in teaching, healthcare and engineering, with many students anticipated to graduate college-ready.
“There’s going to be a lot of labs in this facility,” Salinas said. “We will have professional lecture labs and teacher lecture labs because half of the staff is going to be Edinburg CISD teachers and half of the staff is going to be professors. The whole operation is going to be 50/50. We’re building high school number five at 50% cost — staffing and construction cost.”